Anuradhapura is primarily known for its ruins; the dagobas and palaces, tanks and monasteries. Given its location, it isn’t the best spot for adrenaline junkies to get their fix, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get the blood pumping in the ancient capital.

Climbing Mihintale

Mihintale, an important pilgrimage site for Sri Lankan Buddhists, is located about 12km from Anuradhapura. To reach the summit, you would have to climb 1,850 steps, but the view from the top is stunning. The climb itself is not too strenuous, and many people complete it in about 20 minutes. The surroundings are covered with smatterings of greenery, and the buzz of the city is far from reach, making for a rewarding experience.

Safari at Wilpattu National Park

The Wilpattu National Park spans 1,300, making it Sri Lanka’s largest national park, whilst also being its oldest. The park is perhaps best known for sighting leopards and sloth bears.

Most of the park is closed off to visitors, with only a quarter accessible to the public, but even within that quarter, there’s quite a lot to be seen.  Wilpattu has an interesting mix of environments as well as endemic flora and fauna. There are drylands, forests, lakes as well as grasslands, and the wildlife is spread across these regions.

Due to its massive area, a safari is highly recommended so that you can experience all that Wilpattu has to offer. As private vehicles aren’t allowed in the park, you can book a safari tour through the official Wilpattu National Park website.

❂ Useful Tips:

  • June is a great time to visit Mihintale if you wish to glimpse the progression of the pilgrimage, particularly on the Poson full moon poya day.
  • The ideal time to visit Wilpattu Park is usually from May to September, as the dry season sets in and many of the rarer species come out into the open.